Friday, 5 October 2012

Ferrari close wind tunnel amidst problems

As was the case in 2011, Scuderia Ferrari's title challenge is being hampered by issues with the wind tunnel at their Maranello base.
Calibration problems at the 'Galleria del Vento' led to the data being shown in the wind tunnel not always matching data shown on the track, meaning high expectations have often lead to comparativley poor results. Ferrari's 2011 challenger, the 150° Italia, only one a single race after not producing downforce levels indicated in wind tunnel simulations. The problems in 2011 meant that Ferrari relocated their wind tunnel operation to Toyota Motorsport GmbH's facility in Cologne, Germany (The site where the Japanese marque's Formula One cars were formerly produced) whilst their own wind tunnel was recallibrated.

In 2012, after the hiring of renowned aerodynamicists Ben Agathangelou and Loic Bigois, the problems were expected to dissapear. However, this has not been the case. Despite Fernando Alonso leading the championship, the Ferrari F2012 still falls behind the aerodynamically superior Red Bull RB8 and McLaren MP4-27. Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicalli has stated that planned upgrades to the car have not worked.

As a result, Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicalli has decided to shut down Ferrari's wind tunnel operation in either December or January in order to verify that it is correctly calibrated. Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo believes the wind tunnel's incosistency to be the main reason behind Ferrari's struggles in 2012. He said that the wind tunnel would be shut down "in order to verify and re-calibrate everything", as quoted by Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.

So far, no plans have been announced regarding a relocation of Ferrari's wind tunnel program during the shut down. Although Scuderia Ferrari is expected to continue the program elswhere during the Maranello tunnel's downtime.

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